This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Leafy plants with thick fleshy roots and small greenish or whitish flowers in a long spike. Sepals and petals free and spreading. Lip entire. Beak of the stigma without appendages. Anther-sacs nearly parallel, wholly adnate. Glands naked. Pollinia granular. [Greek, marsh-orchis.]
Flowers greenish; base of the lip little dilated.
Flowers white; base of the lip much dilated.
Orchis hyperborea L. Mant. 121. 1767.
Stem rather stout, 8'-3° high. Leaves lanceolate, mostly acute, 2'-12' long, 6"-18" wide; spike narrow, 3'-8' long; flowers small, greenish or greenish yellow; sepals and petals ovate, obtuse, 2"-3" long; upper sepal slightly crenulate at the apex; lip lanceolate, entire, obtuse, about 3" long; spur about equalling the lip, shorter than the ovary, blunt, slightly incurved, sometimes clavate; anther-sacs parallel, diverging at the base; glands small; ovary more or less twisted.
L. media Rydb. is probably a hybrid of this species and the next. L. major (Lange) Rydb. is, apparently, restricted to Greenland.
Stem slender, leafy, 1°-2° high. Leaves lanceolate, 3'-12' long, 4"-10" wide, obtuse or acute; spike 2'-10' long; bracts acute, the lower longer than the ovary, the upper shorter; flowers small, white, sometimes fragrant; sepals ovate to lanceolate, nearly 3" long; petals acute, lanceolate; lip entire, dilated or obtusely 3rlobed at the base, obtuse at the apex, about as long as the blunt incurved spur; anther-sacs nearly parallel; glands close together, strap-shaped, nearly as long as the pollinia and caudicle; stigma with a trowel-shaped beak between the bases of the anther-sacs.
In bogs and wet woods, Nova Scotia to Alaska, south to Maine, New York and Oregon. Northern white orchis. June-Sept. Consists of several races, differing in the shape of the sepals and petals and width of leaves.
Limnorchis graminifolia Rydb. of the northwest, with much narrower leaves, is recorded from Quebec.